Date of Award

Fall 1997

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bogenschild, Erika G.

Second Advisor

Tagatz, Glenn

Third Advisor

Platz, Donald


The problem of haphazard curriculum development is well-documented. It seems that year after year, there is a quest for coherence in educational practice, but the goal is elusive. For example, the State of Wisconsin has had in place mandatory standardized tests in the major subject areas for four years. It was not until this year, however, that a process was begun to construct and align state standards and proficiency levels with the mandatory test. This means that the first several years of this extensive and expensive testing program will have been without direction, and that effective interpretation of test results will have been hindered by a lack of alignment. That is, it is difficult to know what may have contributed to a certain test result if there was not some alignment between the teaching and the test. Chapters I and II contain many other examples that show the elusiveness of coherence in the curriculum. This study is an attempt to examine the effects of an inexpensive method of bringing a type of connection between the local reading curriculum document, teaching, and a mandatory state reading test. This study is also an attempt to bring the rigor of the control group-only experimental design to an examination of effects over a period of several months. Steps that are considered standard for this design were followed. As a result, there is more information available about curriculum alignment and the use of mandatory testing. Planning and other technical aspects of curriculum, though necessary, are only a part of the educational landscape. The passionate teacher and the supportive learning environment are at the heart of successful educational practice. Also, the positive effects of this powerful combination are often unplanned. However, planning for this environment and the goals and activities within it also play a role. This role is to achieve the overall effect of coherence in students' educational experience. Working to align educational intent, a core of classroom activities, and appropriate assessments is an important component in creating the coherent backdrop within which the passionate, creative teacher can guide student learning.



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